Chris Duty

Bio

Chris has always been an entrepreneur at heart. In his early teens, he earned his spending money by bootlegging CDs with his side-by-side burner and selling them to classmates. His first internet start-up was at age 15, reselling electronics on Ebay, where, as an early adopter, he had a 4 digit password until Ebay forced him to update in 2015.

After college, Chris helped start various online businesses, including an SEO agency, online real-estate brokerage, and flash sale website before entering the VC-backed high-growth start-up world. There, he honed his skills in mobile product management at RetailMeNot (IPO 2013) before moving on to leadership and executive roles at Mobile Travel Technologies in London (Sold to Travelport in 2015) and Student.com in Shanghai, China.

During a year-long sabbatical in 2016, Chris connected with a friend that had launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and needed help selling on Amazon. He was immediately taken by the opportunity and, after helping his friend, became one of the founding team members of 101 Commerce, the first Amazon aggregator. Through 101 Commerce and another aggregator, Chris helped acquire and operate 10+ FBA businesses, many were bought through Quiet Light.

In 2021, Chris was offered to lead M&A at an up-and-coming aggregator when he reached out to solicit advice from Joe Valley. By the end of that call, Joe had convinced Chris to, instead, join Quiet Light as an advisor. The brightest part of his acquisition experience was working with the entrepreneurs and sharing their joy of accomplishment on closing day. Chris looks forward to sharing that moment many times over from a new perspective.

Q&A With Chris

What is the #1 mistake people make when selling their website?

Most people don’t take the exit planning and execution process as seriously as they take operating and growing their business. Just like operating and growing a business, exiting a business requires planning, attention to detail, and persistence. The financial outcome of selling your business generally represents over 70% of the total financial value over the course of your ownership. My advice to people is to educate yourself on how businesses like yours are valued. Joe Valley’s EXITprenuer is a great learning tool.


What drew you to make your career online?

I knew at an early age that I didn’t want a boss. Starting a business online required the least capital and barriers to realize that goal. As I matured, I realized that I enjoyed working with others and being a mentor to people just starting their careers. That led me to more traditional organizations where I was able to learn how to scale processes and align people with the goals of a business. While I had a boss at those organizations, I came away with invaluable lessons and resources that enable me to operate effectively in roles with no boss.

Did you always know that you were going to be an entrepreneur?

I’ve always been extremely self-motivated, which I believe is a key trait to being successful as an entrepreneur. At the same time, I have a strong desire to surround myself with smart, delightful people which led me into the high-growth start-up world. Learning from colleagues and mentors gave me more skills and confidence in my abilities to start, grow and operate businesses.

What is the greatest benefit of helping people sell their online businesses?

Helping someone achieve the financial reward of an exit is the greatest benefit of all. Starting, operating, and growing these businesses is hard work filled with personal and professional risk. It is a great pleasure to witness the joy, satisfaction, and relief that people feel on closing day. Am outcome well-earned.

If you could have just one superpower, what would it be?

To fully live in the present moment, without distraction from thoughts of the past or projections of the future.

What is the best bit of advice you ever received?

“The average lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short. But that isn’t a reason for unremitting despair, or for living in an anxiety-fueled panic. It’s a cause for relief. You get to give up on something that was always impossible– the quest to become the optimized, infinitely capable, emotionally invincible, fully independent person you’re officially supposed to be. Then you get to roll up your sleeves and start work on what’s gloriously possible instead.”
Oliver Burkeman (last paragraph from the book Four Thousand Weeks

If you could have dinner with just one person (they don’t have to be living still), who would it be?

The person I’m having dinner with right now.

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